Warwick Davis — who played the Nelwyn sorcerer Willow Ufgood in both the 1988 film and 2022 series Willow — called out Disney on X for pulling the eight-episode season off Disney+. Disney canceled the series after one season and then yanked the show off its streaming service entirely as a cost-cutting measure.
Davis tweeted, “I meet lovely people on a daily basis who are fans of Willow, who are the reason the Disney+ series was made. Please tell me [Walt Disney Company], what do I say to these subscribers when they ask why they can’t watch the series any more? #embarrassing.”
Variety reports, “Willow was one of nearly 50 titles that Disney+ pulled from its streaming library in May. Other titles included the series The Mysterious Benedict Society and the feature film The One and Only Ivan. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy explained that Disney was expecting to take a write-down in the June quarter of $1.5 billion-$1.8 billion by removing content from its streaming platforms. By writing down the value of the content assets, Disney can remove that from its balance sheet and reduce its tax bill.”
Willow Received Decent Reviews Despite Its Cancellation
Ron Howard directed the 1988 fantasy-adventure film Willow starring Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, and Jean Marsh. The Oscar-nominated film did not create box office magic as expected, but it ended up making a modest profit and developed a small cult following. In addition to Warwick, the 2022 Disney+ series of the same name featured the return of Whalley as Sorsha.
In his review of the Willow series for Variety, Joshua Alston writes, “That perfect balance of reverence and irreverence is what immediately catapults Willow to the upper echelon of Disney+ series, and that alchemy could have been accomplished only with such a dust-covered story as Willow. For as thrilling as Disney’s Marvel and Star Wars series can be, their interconnectedness (to each other and their broader cinematic universes) can be creatively limiting and draining for a viewer. Meanwhile, Willow doesn’t want a deeper commitment, it’s just here to delight, and does it so effectively as to totally refurbish a previously junk-binned franchise.”
The Willow revival series was not the most satisfying show Lucasfilm produced for Disney+, but Davis is correct that it did not deserve erasure from the streaming service. Hopefully Willow will end up on Blu-ray or some other streaming service someday for fans who missed the show during its brief stint on Disney+.
I meet lovely people on a daily basis who are fans of #Willow, who are the reason the @DisneyPlus Series was made. Please tell me @WaltDisneyCo, what do I say to these subscribers when they ask why they can’t watch the series any more? #embarrassing pic.twitter.com/tUu9gstkbS
— Warwick Davis (@WarwickADavis) October 14, 2023